Friday, July 16, 2010

Maryland Earthquake

Earthquake Richter ScaleImage via Wikipedia
An earthquake that registered 3.6 on the Richter scale struck in Gaithersburg, Maryland, just outside of Washington DC around 5:00 am this morning.  While 3.6 is considered a rather small quake, it is pretty significant for us.  In fact, it is the highest confirmed magnitude for a quake to hit the state. I personally did not feel the quake here in Bowie, but according to Bowie Mike of the Bowie Living blog, he could feel it at his home. 

While I did not feel this particular quake, I did experience one about 18 years ago.  My wife and I were heading to Hawaii for a vacation with her family.  We went out a week after the rest of her family, and we had an overnight layover near LAX airport.  Early in the morning, I was shaken from my slumber when I felt the bed vibrating.  I knew I hadn't put any quarters in any slots near the bed, so I was suspicious.  It sounded as though there was a storm outside, as it sounded like wind blowing through the trees outside our room.

I jumped out of bed to take a look out the window.  When my feet hit the floor, I had the sensation as if I was standing on a boat being tossed on waves.  I looked out the window and could see waves in the swimming pool below our room.  As the tremors died down, I got back into bed and turned on CNN to discover that we were feeling the results of a 7.3 magnitude quake that struck in Landers, CA.

Later that morning we had breakfast at the hotel before taking the courtesy van over to LAX.  The van stopped to let one other couple out at their terminal, when I heard the broadcasters on the radio commenting that another aftershock was coming through.  Then the van started rocking.  I looked out the windows and the light posts around the airport were swaying like trees in a strong breeze.  I was starting to wonder if we would ever make it to Hawaii.

Eventually we were able to take off and enjoy a week in Hawaii.  My first, and so far only experience with earthquakes was disturbing to say the least.  So the fact that I did not feel today's quake, no matter how small it was, doesn't break my heart any.
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